Today, one of my coworkers and I spent about 45 minutes walking around the athletic campus trying to find the perfect place to take a photo for her headshot. (You’d think after eight weeks here it wouldn’t have been that difficult, but you’d be surprised how many hidden gems there are on college campuses for headshot photos.) While I initially was thrilled to go on a little makeshift field trip/get some fresh air outside, it was also a great time to get an inside scoop from someone further than me within my career path.
She was recently hired by the same place I’m working for after completing a year-long internship, so she was able to help me work through some of the stuff that recent grads have to shuffle through when looking for jobs; when is it okay to to take an internship instead of a job, how to narrow down applications, etc.
I’ve found in the past the I’ve had trouble labeling people close to my age as mentors just because I normally view them through a friend lens. I’m not sure what was different about this year — this coworker I’m talking about is only two years older than me — but I really see her as an amazing mentor. Whether it was helping me find where I could get discounts on team gear or telling me to focus on internal movement within companies I might want to hire me, she always seemed to give me the advice she thought would help me get further.
In sports — no matter where you are or who you work for — there aren’t a lot of women to talk to, let alone give you the tips and advice to help you go far. There are definitely more and more women in sports each year, but the numbers aren’t great. So spending a summer working with a woman who was similar to me and seeing her in the field I want to go into was actually very reassuring.
Even though walking around campus talking about workplace environments wasn’t a skill I could put on my resume or a piece of information I could use during an interview, it was still really important to my personal growth as a woman in sports. Little things like that, conversations and just general support, make internships so much more valuable than just learning skills — walking away with an amazing mentor who wants to see you succeed makes any experience ten times better.